As much as Arlen Specter has driven me batty over the years, he was long a powerful senator whom everyone wanted on his side. (And when he was on your side, you sometimes worried he wouldn’t be for long, or enough!) He was respected and feared. He was frustrating. But Arlen Specter surrendered the power he built for himself — and his state — when he handed his reputation over to Barack Obama. It’s a shame to see a career end like that.
But, of course, it was more than time for his Senate career to end — and apparently folks on both sides of the aisle can agree about that, since it was a Democratic primary he lost. If he had been running in a Republican primary with Pat Toomey, I think we would have seen similar results last night. And I think Specter might agree. The reason he might is that bloody tea party that he fumes about. The tea party isn’t into him, for sure, but Pennyslvania voters once were — when they could respect him for being a Keystone force in Washington.